Flags are some of the most recognizable elements and symbols of a nation. As such, countries will use their flags to represent different cultural elements and heritage to their citizens and the world abroad. One of the most common symbols/methods that flags utilize is the simple stripe. Whether it’s one, two, or three, many flags use stripes in their design. Today, we will look at the history of using stripes on flags, plus see some of the most famous flags with stripes on them. Let’s get started.
The Origin of Stripes on Flags
Using stripes on flags is widespread and can mean a huge variety of different things. Essentially, there isn’t a single “thing” represented when a flag uses stripes. Instead, the nation using the stripes determines the meaning of the stripes and what they represent. Additionally, the stripes on a flag don’t always “mean” something as much as having different colors does. In these cases, stripes are used as a clear way to distinguish different colors that are important, even if the stripes themselves aren’t important.
In the United States, for example, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original Colonies from England, while the colors represent something else entirely. Looking at the French flag, the stripes are known as the tri-color, but the important element is the colors, not necessarily the fact that there are stripes. The colors on the French flag represent the King (white) and the City of Paris (blue and red).
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known striped flags in the world.
Famous Striped Flags from Around the World
The United States of America
The United States flag consists of 13 horizontal red and white stripes and a blue field with 50 white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine rows. The red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies, and the stars represent the 50 states. The blue field represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The flag symbolizes national unity and pride for the United States.
The flag of Germany consists of three equal horizontal bands of black, red, and gold. The flag’s colors have been associated with Germany for centuries and are believed to have been inspired by the colors of the uniform of the Prussian army. The black band represents determination and resolve, the red band represents courage and loyalty, and the gold band represents generosity and justice.
The flag of Ukraine consists of two equal horizontal bands of blue and yellow. The blue represents the sky, and the yellow represents golden fields of wheat. The flag has been used since the early 18th century and has undergone several changes. The current design was officially adopted in 1992 following Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union.
The flag of France, known as the tricolor, consists of three equal vertical bands of blue, white, and red. The tricolor flag was first adopted during the French Revolution and has been used as the national flag of France since then. It is a symbol of liberty, equality, fraternity, and the values of the French Republic.
The flag of Belize consists of a blue field with the national coat of arms in the center, surrounded by two unequal red stripes. The coat of arms features a mahogany tree, an important national symbol, and a shield with the national motto “Sub Umbra Floreo,” which means “I Flourish in the Shade.” The blue and red stripes represent the unity of the people.
The flag of Laos consists of three horizontal bands of red, blue, and red, with a white disc in the center. The red bands represent the blood shed during the country’s struggle for independence, while the blue band represents the Mekong River, an important national symbol. The white disc represents the full moon, which is a symbol of prosperity and unity. The flag symbolizes national pride and unity for the people of Laos.
The flag of Lebanon consists of three horizontal bands of red, white, and red, with a green cedar tree in the center of the white band. The red bands represent the bloodshed in Lebanon’s history, the white represents peace and purity, and the green cedar tree is a national symbol of the country. The cedar tree has been a symbol of Lebanon for centuries and is featured in the country’s coat of arms and on its official seal. The tree is considered a symbol of strength and resilience and is an important part of the country’s cultural and national identity, primarily because of the 77 references within the Bible to the “Cedar of Lebanon.”
The flag of Canada, known as the Maple Leaf Flag, consists of a red field with a white square in the center, featuring a red, 11-pointed maple leaf. The red color represents Canada’s British heritage, while the white represents peace and purity. The maple leaf has been a symbol of Canada for centuries and is a national emblem of the country. The flag symbolizes national pride and unity for the people of Canada. It was officially adopted as the national flag in 1965, replacing the Union Jack, which had previously been used as the national flag.
Other Countries with Striped Flags
Here is a list of countries that currently or at one point utilized stripes as a part of their national flag:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Cape Verde
- Costa Rica
- Equatorial Guinea
- Flag of The Gambia
- Flag of Cape Verde
- Flag of Costa Rica
- The Gambia
- Iraqi Kurdistan
- New Caledonia
- Russian Federation
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
- Republic of Artsakh
- Sierra Leone
- South Ossetia
- South Sudan
- United Arab Emirates
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